As summer gives way to autumn thoughts turn to the forthcoming vintage. For those regions and producers who have escaped the severe hailstorms, prospects for 2013 in Northern Europe have very considerably improved since the end of June.
To date 2013 has certainly been a game of two halves. The long cold spring led to one of the latest flowerings for many years with the floraison not complete in regions like Champagne until early July. Since then the weather has changed around with long periods of fine weather during July and August.
Stats from the weather station at Tours show that rainfall in July and August was well below average, while both temperatures and hours of sunshine in July 2013 were well above average. This pattern largely continued into August with plentiful hours of sunshine, although average temperatures were close to the norm. Fortunately hours of sunshine are much more beneficial than high temperatures, which will tend to reduce acidity as well as pusshing up sugar levels to quickly, leaving true ripeness lagging behind.
Despite a more favourable July and August, the vintage in Bourgueil is unlikley to start until October, so that means that producers can enjoy the annual Bourgueillotherapie – mix of wine and artistry – without distraction. The event is organised by the Café de la Promenade in Bourgueil and this year there will be two of Les 5 present – David Cobbold and myself.